The huge South Luangwa National Park is so wild and remote and full of animals that it would be hard to exceed the safari experience found here.
It is one of Africa’s most unspoiled places with enormous spaces, a wide diversity of habitats, and a high game density and rarity of wildlife rarely seen in other game reserves.
The survival of the valley depends on the winding Luangwa River, crowded with hippos, crocodiles and wading waterfowl, and its numerous tributaries that course through the park.
There is such an abundance of animals in this park that it could be called crowded! Antelopes, wildebeest and zebra congregate along the river and on the open savannah grasslands in the north, where most safari camps are located.
The muddy Luangwa is home to hundreds of crocs and often over 100 hippo in a single pool. The Nile Crocodile is the world’s largest reptile – maxing at around 15ft ( metres) long and 100 years old.
Night drives are renowned for sightings of leopard and lion on the hunt. Baboons and vervet monkeys seem to be everywhere and even rarely seen animals like the honey badger and civet, are likely to be seen.
Large hunting packs of African wild dog – who require a large traversing area – travel easily through this park and are a special sight due to their endangered status.
Thornicroft’s giraffe are indigenous to the park, and are one of 8 different races of giraffe in Africa. They have darker muzzles and are slightly smaller than their cousins.
Even the zebras are a sub-species of the common plains (or Burchell’s) zebra, and lack the muddy-brown shadow stripe of its neighbours.
With over 400 species of birds recorded here you could easily see over 100 different species in a three day visit.
Rainy Season: The South Luangwa is inaccessible during the rainy season from December until the last rains in about April. After one night of heavy rain and thunder, the Luangwa River could rise by several metres to form a lake that was not there the day before.
Dry Season: May to August are the colder winter months with warm days and cold nights. After that it gets hotter and dryer and by September and October it is very hot. By this time the bushes have wilted and the earth is bone dry, so animals assemble along the river and at remaining waterholes. These hot dry months are the best for game viewing.